A Homemade Piece of Lab Equipment With A Terrible Purpose

There is something creepily fascinating about this piece of DiY lab equipment, fashioned in Denmark during the 1970s. Can you guess its purpose? Not for the faint of heart.


The habitrails may have given it away. Yes, it's a rat guillotine, considered 40 years ago to be the most humane way to kill rats after experimenting on them. In Biomedicine On Display, the blog of the University of Copenhagen Medical Museion, the curators write:

The guillotine is a fascinating (if somewhat morbid) piece of laboratory equipment that can at the same time hint at the more gory parts of science and the relation between scientist and animals and also be used as an example of ‘home made' laboratory equipment. As assistant engineer Kristian Karlsen told us, when Museion was at the annual 'clean-up-day' at Panum, biomedical researchers in past and present have often had to construct their own equipment in collaboration with mechanics and engineers. He mentioned that at some point in the recent history of biomedicine at Panum there was one equipment-building workshop for every 4-5 laboratories. In other words, ‘home made' laboratory equipment is and has been a more important and frequently used part of biomedical research than most people would think.

Another strange item he discovered is this one, below. It appears to be some kind of tissue slicer, which came from a storage room in the university labs. Right now the Museion is working on finding out what it was used for and who made it.

via Biomedicine On Display


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